IIDA Wisconsin

2024 SWMF Essay Scholarship

Awards Program Dates

Awards Program Open
From: December 1, 2023 12:00AM CSTTo: February 9, 2024 11:59PM CST
Rules & Regulations

The Susan Wohlitz Memorial Fund was founded in 2005 to honor our Past-President Susan Wohlitz. Her dedication to mentorship and the development of young professionals inspired us to create a way to award students persuing interior design degrees in the state of Wisconsin. The Susan Wohlitz Memorial awards over $10,000 in scholarships every year to student members for IIDA WI. To learn more about Susan and the SWMF Fund visit our website: IIDA-WI - Scholarships (iidawi.org)

Scholarship details:

This annual scholarship is focused on the ability to convey design ideas through the written word. Great design starts with a great idea! The ability to convey that idea through the written and spoken word is an important part of your design career. The judges will be Professional IIDA WI members and will concentrate on the writing style and writing capabilities shown in the essay.

Please provide the following elements in an essay of 500 words or less to be considered for the $1,000 SWMF scholarship:

  • Executive summary - articulate the use of design principles to solve the challenge presented
  • Designer/Firm Introduction - use your current experience to draft a fictional firm (students name or abbreviation is cause for disqualification) 

2024 Essay Challenge:

Elite is a large software development company based in Wisconsin since the 1990s. To respond to the evolving workplace demands for equity, inclusion, and choice in how colleagues work, we would like to remodel our existing workplace to better meet our employee needs, reinforce our corporate culture of extraordinary client service and problem solving, and support an environment of ideation and creativity. We believe implementing an activity-based workplace model would likely be a better fit for our organization. Elite recognizes that remote working has allowed our staff flexibility and choice to be productive outside of the workplace. We want to make sure that everyone can remain connected no matter if they are in person or working outside of the workplace, so technological integration throughout will be very important. Finding a solution to integrating colleagues into impromptu conversations even if they are not in the office would be helpful.

We would also like to explore the inclusion of amenity spaces that would help bring our employees together in the workplace and address challenges of life-work balance. We would like your firm to help us explore different options of spaces we can add to our workplace that may help attraction and retention.

Providing environmentally responsible building attributes and healthy living options while at work is a must. We are interested in exploring LEED & WELL or Fitwel certification to show our commitment to doing what is right. We would like to explore ways we can decrease our carbon footprint as well. Please provide strategies we can consider to achieve our sustainability goals.

Elite is accepting proposals from design firms to provide ideas and strategies that will support our outlined goals and desired outcomes. 

Proposals shall include:

A. Strategy for an activity based workplace for 300 employees. We would prefer an unassigned strategy with a sharing ratio of 1:5 for workspaces to employees. Please provide a selection of workspace types that our staff would be able to choose from when working in the office.

B. Options for workplace amenities that can be added to our space to help reinforce our corporate culture and encourage attraction and retention of staff.

C. Strategies for sustainable design and support of healthy living initiatives.

Judging Criteria:

  1. Are all components included with the submission?
    1. Executive summary
    2. Firm Qualification
  2. How clearly is the executive summary articulated?
  3. Did the executive summary create a mental image of the solution they are trying to convey?
  4. Were the requirements and company mission addressed in the summary?
  5. Presentation of final report - graphics and organization
    1. How well were the design elements articulated in the executive summary
    2. Was their firm description clear and concise?

Please note: IIDA WI reserves the right to use submissions for future marketing materials.